Product Review – Hartog Lucerne-Mix Digest

Okay guys, to start off I wanted to give full disclosure – when I first started Cosmo on the Lucerne-Mix, I didn’t realise it was the Digest specific mix I had received. While I would have preferred to have put Cosmo on the normal Lucerne-Mix, I can’t deny the changes I’ve seen in him since starting him on the Lucerne-Mix Digest. So now, that that’s out of the way, its time to get on with the review…


What is Hartog Lucerne-Mix Digest?

Lucerne is another name for Alfalfa so the Lucerne-Mix is something that can be substituted for your regular Alfalfa brand. Lucerne-Mix Digest is promoted as a natural solution for avoiding stomach and intestinal problems. Personally, anything natural that can help with stomach issues in horses gets a thumbs up from me as I don’t believe it’s good for horse’s to be on constant supplements to solve those issues.

They specifically recommend this feed for sport horses, horses who suffer with ulcers and other intestinal issues or horses who are sensitive to stressful situations.

What is in Hartog Lucerne-Mix Digest?

The power in the Lucerne-Mix Digest comes from the appropriately named POWERSTART formula which is a special blend of natural micro elements and is combined with acid buffers, prebiotics and yeast cultures – for those of you who are like me and don’t really understand what all that means, these are basically all those good things that horsey tummies like.

All these ingredients help to resolve damage to your horse’s stomach while also providing a protective barrier to support better gut health. Apparently raw Lucerne can be quite bitter so they have also added liquorice along with fruit and vegetables, to make the mix more palatable for your horse.

Another important thing to note is that there is no grain, molasses or other energy-rich sweeteners used in this product so if you decide to swap this into your horse’s diet, keep note of your horse’s energy levels. It may suit them to the ground or they may need something extra for an energy boost. I’ve definitely found Cosmo to become quite sluggish since being on this feed.

How to feed Hartog Lucerne-Mix Digest

After giving the experts in Lucerne some info on Cosmo – his age, height, condition, work load and what he’s currently being fed – they were able to recommend exactly what he should be getting.

Cosmo’s Profile:

  • 16.2hh 4 year old Irish Sport Horse
  • Fed Twice a Day on GAIN Cool n Easy Mix (1 x scoop per feed), Beet Pulp (1 x scoop per feed) and Alfalfa (1 x handful per feed)
  • 3 x Haynets of Haylage per day and roughly 4 hours of grass turnout
  • Ridden 5 days a week – 2 days of hard work and the rest a mix of easy/hacking/field work
  • Good condition but he’s young and still very weak but starting to build muscle

After sending this across to the team, I was given so much information but for the sake of this post, the following is the summarised feedback:

  • I was doing a good job at what I was feeding Cosmo already
  • Horses should be fed 1-1.5kg of dry matter (or roughage) per 100kg, for Cosmo who is roughly 600kg it should be around 6-9kg per day.
  • No big changes to his feed other than to swap out my current alfalfa for the Lucerne-Mix Digest
  • Feed 1kg of the Lucerne-mix a day which measures out to approx. 2 x scoops per meal
  • Roughage is the basis

Feed the Lucerne-mix through the concentrates you give. When you do this your horse has to chew more, also on the concentrates, thanks to this the passage is slower and the nutrients will be better absorbed. Also, thanks to the extra chewing there will also be extra saliva which neutralizes the gastric juices and will prevent health issues.

Hartog Recommends

The Results

I’ve had Cosmo on Lucerne for over a month now and I can absolutely see some differences in him. He’s filled out quite a bit already in some key places such as his shoulders and behind the saddle. He’s also got some really good healthy weight on him now too which he’s been able to maintain with his workload. It’s important to note, that while feeding your horse the correct feed will help them build muscle more efficiently, you won’t see any huge changes unless you’re doing the work and exercising them properly to complement what you’re feeding them.

All in all, even though this wasn’t the feed I had initially intended on giving Cosmo, it has definitely still impressed me with how well it’s kept him. The one thing I’ll say against it is that it does seem to have made him a bit more sluggish but some small adjustments to his other feed should help solve that problem easily.

The Details

Where can you find Lucerne-Mix in Ireland? Holmestead Saddlery are the only place I know of that stock it and are where I got mine. They have a store based in Co. Kildare, Ireland and another store based in Northern Ireland but if you’re not close to either, don’t fear as they also deliver!

Lucerne-Mix costs €19.99 so it is on the pricier side but I got two bags which I’m only now coming to the end of after 6 weeks and bear in mind, in that time I had 2 horses to feed for two and a half of those weeks so it’s lasted very well.


Hopefully I’ve given you all the information you need to decide whether the Lucerne-Mix Digest is the option for your horse or not. If there is anything else you’d like to know, drop us a comment below or you can message us on any of our social channels for more info. Otherwise, the team in Hartog are super friendly and helpful too.

As always, thanks for reading,

Orla

Taking it Back a Few Steps…

After our disastrous attempt at schooling in Coilóg I wasn’t too sure what my next steps would be. The next day I decided to do a good hard flat session with her to try and work some of her bad energy out. To be fair to her, she worked very well which was probably even more frustrating. The following day I decided I’d try jump her again to see what she would be like. She got very worked up, started her bunny-hopping nonsense and absolutely bombed through the small double that was set up. It felt like she was waiting to find something to spook at and when there was nothing she would just gallop through. She just didn’t seem happy.

Coco’s Feed: 

After some thinking and debriefing I decided the feed she was on could be blowing her head. I had her on Cool n Easy, Coolstance (this is a low energy feed to help her keep IMG_5185weight over the winter) a Topliner, Biotin, NAF Magic (a calmer with magnesium and herbs) and Karron Oil. It made sense that it could be something in her feed because her freshness had started a good two weeks previous which was roughly when I started her on the topliner. So we decided to strip it back to just Cool n Easy, Magic and the oil. 

I stuck with just flatwork for the week to give her time to come down off everything. She was very fresh and distracted the entire week but by day 5 she seemed to have calmed and I got some of our best flatwork out of her so I decided to try her over a small fence. I turned her to the jump and straight away she got very tense and ran out. She stopped at the end of the arena and refused to move forward, I had to pony-club kick her to get her to move. I brought her around again in trot and she jumped it that time so I tried it again in canter and she bunny-hopped and leapt her way down the approach before getting to the base of the fence and catleaping over it. With that, I left her there because my horse was not a happy camper and her feed doesn’t seem to be the problem.

Pain Related?

coco-lying-down.jpgAfter this last session I had another think..the only explanation for Coco’s sudden aversion to jumping was that it had to be pain related. The last time she showed this kind of behaviour when jumping was when she started outgrowing her saddle and developed some sore points in her back. And to be fair, this is where all the symptoms pointed to:

  • Hesitant to pick up canter
  • Bucking and kicking out
  • Refusing to move forward
  • Refusing/avoiding jumping

These were all symptoms I had seen in Coco over the last number of weeks although the hesitance to pick up canter was a more on-going issue, I just thought we needed to work on our canter transitions. 

So I had a new plan of action..I needed to get a physio out to look at Coco ASAP. Thankfully she was able to come out the following weekend so we didn’t have too long a wait. 

The Physio

When the physio arrived I took Coco out of her stable so she could have a look at her. Straight away she spotted that Coco had a diagonal issue just from the way she was IMG_5158standing. After some more looking she found that Coco had an uneven pelvis. Essentially her left side is much less developed than her right so her hind right leg was taking all the work which resulted in tired, cramped and dead muscles. Considering how uneven she was, it seems that this has been an issue for a while so the physio did a lot of work to correct her and straighten her out. I ran through Coco’s list of symptoms and the physio confirmed that they are all indicative of the problems she saw in Coco’s back which was quite a relief. 

After a good hour and a half I was left with two main instructions:

  1. Work on building up the muscles on Coco’s left side 
  2. Get her working long and low both on the lunge and in the saddle
What Next?

So where do we go from here? Well it’s back to basics for me and Coco. I’m going to develop a weekly exercise plan that will include a mix of lunging work and pole exercises (including cavaletti’s) that should help build all the correct muscles for Coco. We will also be keeping jumping to a minimum for a while, only incorporating small jumps into our polework so we can start building up her confidence in jumping again. 

The physio also recommended I loose jump Coco to show her that she shouldn’t be feeling sore when jumping anymore so I did this last week. At first she wasn’t too keen but once she realised what I was asking her to do she settled into it and started to enjoy herself so I’m hoping this was a positive mental step forward for Coco.

Coco loose jumping

 

I plan on doing a full post with details on the exercise program I’ll be doing with Coco. I’m hoping this will help me keep track of what does and doesn’t work. I’m open to any and all suggestions so please let me know if there were any exercises you’ve had success with.

Thanks for reading 🙂  

 

Orla